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developing now everyone president obama is expected to speak at the white house this hour. and you know something? i got to tell you something. that is the wrong teleprompter. i'm going off this hard copy. i want to say hello to all of you. welcome, it is high noon on the
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east coast, 9:00 a.m. out west. five stories trending out of this hour. out of afghanistan but is it mission accomplished? epidemic virus the flu will it slow down? california cold snap, citrus in danger. admission imminent. word of a lance armstrong tell all. and oops, did britney do it again? we have details on all those stories. but first -- now we're getting to the president as he is sharing new details today on america's future role in afghanistan after meeting with afghan president hamid karzai on friday, he is giving us an update on how he will end the war in afghanistan. >> this remains a very difficult mission. the work ahead will not be easy. our forces are still in harm's way. but make no mistake. our path is clear, and we are moving forward. because after more than a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own.
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>> now at the same time, democratic leaders in the senate are advising president obama to consider any lawful steps to avoid a debt ceiling crisis, even fit means acting without congressional approval. the associated press reports majority leader harry reid is among those urging the president to consider options like invoking the 14th amendment to find ways around the nearly $16.5 trillion cap on government borrowing. and newark, new jersey mayor corey booker is one step closer to a senate run after filing paperwork with the federal election commission this week. meanwhile, politoco reports a top aide to democratic senator frank lawsuit enberg called booker "self-absorbed" accusing the mayor of bee trying the democratic party by skipping a run against republican governor chris christie. well, joining me right now we have msnbc contributing and managing editor joy an reid and white house reporter for the "washington post." and with a hello to both of you, david i'm going to go up to you first. let's go to afghanistan with the president accelerating the withdrawal of troops right now. what did we learn from that news
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conference as to a timeline? >> well, alex, it was very interesting. the words that the president used he kept saying several times not only is the war for americans going to come to an end by the end of 2014, which we all knew, but as soon as this spring america is going to allow the afghan forces around the country to take the lead in securing their own nation. that's moved up the timetable by a few months. what that seems to signal was we may be able to remove the 66,000 u.s. troops that remain at a faster pace, maybe even before the end of 2014. the question is, how many troops will the white house decide to leave in if any on a training and support role in 2015 and beyond. that's still under sort of negotiation and deliberation at the white house. but what's interesting is it seems like voices inside the white house that want a smaller force left there if any, maybe as few as 2 or 3,000 or even zero, those are maybe being emboldened from the way the president talked about moving
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out more quickly. >> let's talk about i guess the legacy of this president. if he accomplishes a successful withdrawal from afghanistan, how will that be read? >> it's funny. because when barack obama first ran for president, one of the sort of signature issues that made the left really sort of lean toward him was his anti-war stance, particularly about iraq. but i think the country is so war-weary that the idea of withdrawing completely from afghanistan, that's even beyond i think the wildest hopes particularly of the president's liberal base. i mean, people are very excited. i'm hearing a lot of very positive reaction to the idea of going down to zero troops in afghanistan. and look, we've been there longer than the russians were there at this point. i mean, it seems to americans i think at least the majority to just be an intractable situation. i think most americans would be very pleased if we got out of there. >> do you have a discrepancy? do people feel a difference with getting troops out of afghanistan and leaving some behind for training and perhaps special ops? do people distinguish between that? >> i think people understand we
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still have to key an eye on that region. you still have pakistan next door. that is still where the majority of the terrorism that affects us is coming from. but i think people do understand particularly after osama bin laden was killed that we need to draw down significantly. that we need to scale back our presence in the region. because look at the end of the day we're not going to create a jeffersonian democracy in afghanistan. that's not something we even really want to do as a nation. we really want to focus more at home. >> i'm going to switch gears right now. and i'll start with joy here with regard to the talk about the president's cabinet picks this week. there's been so much discussion about that. some people have been criticizing the president for his lack of diversity. in fact, here's what congressman charlie rangel said about this on msnbc. here it is. >> it's embarrassing as hell. we've been through all this with mitt romney. we were very hard on mitt romney with his women binder. >> so overly harsh assessment by the congressman? what do you think? >> it's three people. i find it a little bit funny
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that we're going into all this over three people. the cabinet is not three people. these are three of the picks. you still have valerie jaret there who was probably more influence than any person in the white house. eric holder attorney general. no small potato. you still have kathleen sibelius there. maybe the positions we don't talk about as much. hilda solis is leaving. that's not to say there won't be another woman at labor. there are still opportunities to add women. we had two supreme court picks that were women. the optics. the susan rice debacle i guess you could call it tainted everything that came after that. i think it tainted poor john kerry's nomination because people were an assuming he was the second choice. i think the whole susan rice spectacle is hanging over and looming over all the other picks. >> you make good points though, joy. so david, the white house's response to all this. all these accusations that they're not putting in a diverse group of people. how's that going? >> well alex, what joy just said, there's only a few picks.
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that's what jay carnie the white house spokesman said the other day. he also ticked through some of the women who are still running departments and going to stay on in their jobs. just to push back a little bit, there have been four picks now if you count the treasury secretary announced this week in jack lew. it's likely we'll hear next week that inside the white house to replace jack lew chief of staff is probably dennis mcdonagh. not only did the first four picks that the president pick were men, also they were some of the most high profile and national security which is a male dominated field. i talked to several women who wanted michelle flornoy in defense. they said this is traditionally sort of a boy's club. they feel there are lingering questions about the president what he feels comfortable getting a lot of input. the white house has been putting out photos of the president with his advisers including women. people are watching this closely. >> i mentioned mayor corey booker that he's now closer to a senate run.
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politico saying senator lieutenantlouten accused him of betrying the democratic party by not going after governor kristi. should he fight for governor kristi's seat? >> i think he's been looked at for a long time as a rising star in the democratic party. he's looking for his next move. probably all politics are local even for the person running. i think for him he looked like he probably can walk into a senate seat fairly easily. it will be tough against chris christie. he's made this buddy romance with the president where he and the president have sort of worked together after the hurricane sandy and made appearances together. and so moved more toward the center in that way. so it may be hard for corey booker. i think people looking for him to maybe take that seat are disappointed, but i think for corey booker and his own future this is probably a move they felt safer about. >> joy, there's a bromance going on with the president and governor chris christie. won't go that far.
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but it's interesting because they take polls and find out he's more popular among democrats than republicans. so weigh in on his decision here in terms of mayor booker going after the seat he's going to go after and not chris christie. >> i think it's pragmatic. it's unlikely he would have been able to easily beat chris christ christieity. he's looking good now in terms of the polls. there is a downside to the booker sort of reputation. it has always been that he is a little bit of a self-promoter. he might be a little selfish politically. this plays into that. there are people in new jersey who are not as high on booker as a lot of the media outside of new jersey are. this is one of the reasons why. but at the same time, i think to his calculation the senate seat is probably an easier play. and then there is the question of how long these politicians really need to stay in quite frankly. frank lautenberg is getting on in most. what probably doesn't look very politic from booker's point of
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view he seems to sort of be pushing lautenberg toward the door before he's ready to anounce not to run again. >> joy and david, thank you. well house republicans try again to repeal the health care law. when do they give up and move on? gop deja vu and strategy talk coming your way at the bottom of the hour. a new report from the cdc is calling the flu outbreak an epidemic. just moments ago new york governor andrew cuomo declared a public health emergency in this stays. the move allows pharmacists to vaccinate certain patients. nearly every state is reporting widespread outbreak. but there could be some hope that the flu season is peaking. nbc's gabe guttierez is live for us inside an emergency room in brooklyn, new york. we spoke with you earlier today, gabe. how's it been looking today? >> reporter: it's been very busy here this morning and over the past few days. as you mentioned, governor cuomo just declared that public health emergency for new york.
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basically that will allow commercial pharmacists over the next 30 days at least to administer flu vaccines to patients between six months and 18 years of age. the flu activity seems to be leveling off in many parts of the south. but in e.r.s like this one they are the front lines in a battle against the flu. doctors here say they're just very busy and they're just not sure when it will stop. clearly there's nothing fun about the flu. but now it's officially an epidemic. the disease widespread in 47 states, up from the week before. so far, at least 20 children have died. >> everyone in my office is sick right now. and everyone seems to have gotten it. >> reporter: flu season usually lasts about three months. the cdc says we're not even halfway through. >> i suspect in most parts of the country we'll continue to see influenza activity for several more weeks. >> reporter: so while health officials think the flu might have peaked in some spots like the south, interest is high.
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the blue dots on this map show the rising google searches for the word "flu" from mid september to earlier this month. it's so bad, the archdiocese of boston wants parishioners to bow instead of shaking hands and has suspended wine during communion. in new york, mass transit agents are warning passengers to to cover coughs. in iowa abby white is rushing to get the flu shot to protect herself and her 3-month-old daughter. >> hopefully she doesn't get it and hopefully i don't get it, either. >> reporter: dr. john marshall runs the e.r. at this medical center in brooklyn. he says this month about a third of the kids here had flu-like symptoms. >> this year in particular, there is an increase not just in the flu this time of year but there's also an noro virus and whooping cough outbreak going on simultaneously which is causing more people to present to the hospital looking for care. >> reporter: for jessica abram, trips to the doctor are getting old. her family already sick for nine
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days. >> my 8-month-old has it. my 2 1/2-year-old has it. my husband has it. i have it. >> reporter: now her 5-year-old is in the e.r. >> very frustrating. but i'm trying keep it together. >> reporter: governor cuomo just declared a public health emergency for new york state allowing commercial pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine to patients between 6 months and 18 years of age. doctors here and throughout the country are stressing once again to get that flu shot, alex. >> okay. thank you very much for the advice, gabe guttierez. west coast headlines are next. the case of david versus goliath in the coffee world. also another republican congressman takes on the question of rape. in fact we once again hear an explanation of the phrase "legitimate rape." what happens next? we're going to examine that when "weekends with alex witt" returns [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool
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. some head lives making news out on the west coast. the los angeles times has a front page story "state braces for flu surge's arrival." it's about how california has so far avoided the epidemic. but health officials say it's only a matter of time. the "arizona daily star" has a story titled "forecast housing prices to increase." that report says the median sales price in the tucson area is up 23% from last year. rents are expected to rise as well. and in the seattle times the headline "actor's deal for tully's upheld." a federal judge ruled that a group led by patrick dempsy can
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buy the company out of bankruptcy. he beat out global coffee giant starbucks. the new congress has been in session for a little more than a week but there's already controversy that local chamber of commerce meeting thursday, georgia congressman phil gingry partly defended taught aiken's legitimate rape comments from his senate campaign. >> he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. he's partly right on that. i'm an ob-gyn doctor. >> joining me now is freshman republican congressman from indiana luke messer. welcome to you. you're off to quite a start here. i want to ask you after giving you congratulations on your new job, what is your reaction when you heard about representative gingr's comments? >> the first i heard of it was in the segment you just played to me. obviously it's hard to defend those comments. rape is a terrible thing no matter what the circumstances. i frankly would rather be talking about the need for a
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growing economy, the need to balance budgets and not be talk about those kind of comments. >> i will say there was something republican strategist kevin madden said, senior adviser to mitt romney's campaign. he says here's the deal. it's pretty simple everyone. if you're about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop. just saying that's out there from a gop adviser. >> i think it's well said. well said. >> we have to say that representative gingry later tried to walk back his statement. he says his comments were misconstrued. shouldn't the less on be learned by now this kind of comment gets you nowhere? >> i think the comments from the earlier adviser make a lot of sense well said. we need to be talk at this time in our history about the need for balanced budgets, the need for a growing economy. that's what i intend to focus on. >> okay. i must also broaden a bit here. at that same event congressman gingry also weighed in on the gun control debate.
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he said he'd be willing to consider a ban on extended magazines. now you have an a rating from the nra. in fact you put that in your official bio. do you agree with the nra's leadership stance that no gun laws would have an impact on mass shootings? >> well, i agree we need to have greater security. i'm willing to listen to anybody as we talk about what we need to do to solve these mass gun violent incidents across the country. i'm skeptical though of any answers that start with gun bans. we need a broad conversation about the way we approach mental health as a nation. i think we need to look at ancillary things, even violent video games and those type of efforts. but i'm willing like the congressman that you just cited to listen to any answer. i just think we shouldn't be starting with conversations about gun bans. >> why can't gun laws be part of the solution? i mean, you're saying you don't want to start with that. but can't they be part of the solution? i mean because they play a pretty crucial role in mass shootings. so they're not at all the problem? >> well, what i would tell you is i'm again glad to listen.
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but history shows that when we start with gun bans, the one thing gun bans are very effective at are taking guns away from law-abiding citizens that weren't the problem in the first place. the violent criminal, the person that commits these acts tend to get access to the guns anyway. i'm not telling you i'm not willing to listen to a broader conversation. i'm not going to take any topic off the table. but i'm skeptical of efforts that want to start with gun bans. because frankly history shows they don't work. >> but does that even sir extend to assault weapon bans? >> i mean, i believe the second amendment protects all kinds of guns. frankly, i believe that i'm skeptical of those who want to start there. all i can tell you at this stage of the game as a new congressman who's been here a few days, i'm willing to listen to a broad cross-section of the debate. but i think we have some opportunities for consensus. for example, re-examining the way we look at mental health as a nation is critical. the one common denominator between all these mass killings is that they're committed by a mentally deranged madman. what can we do to try to prevent
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those efforts and keep those people off the streets? >> okay. after the presidential election we heard a lot of republicans saying that the party needs to re-examine its policies and demographics. so as part of this new class, how do you plan to bring in some new voters? >> well, i've had a tremendous opportunity. my classmates in the gop elected me as the freshman class president. i've reached out across the aisle to matt cartwright one of the two presidents on the democrat side. we're going to try to have events where people come together. out in adult life even where people disagree they've got to get along. i think we have to start that here as well. i think the essential question we have to be asking ourselves as a nation today, does washington have enough? does washington really need more than $5 trillion? i think if we stay focused on that part of the debate, we'll have a great opportunity to succeed. >> you know, there's a lot of talk about the story in relationship between president ronald reagan and then speaker of the house tip o'neal. these two couldn't i dial
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ojicily have been further apart. but they did get together routinely. you make that point. how much you introduce that to at least get the two sides talking not during the 9 to 5 hours. get you guys talk at places away from capitol hill where you can really work one-on-one. >> well, matt cartwright is a democrat congressman newly-elected from pennsylvania. frankly philosophically we disagree a lot. but i've gotten to know he and his wife and their family well. and are getting to know them well. and i think they seem to be fine people. and look forward to the opportunity to get to know them better. i do think that civility is an important part of the process. it's very hard to demonize people that you know. the vast majority of people that come to washington are good, decent people trying to make their country better. and i think we could build some bridges there that may make a difference. even soon. but if not soon, over time. this class was a unique class. you have 82 members, 47 democrats, 35 republicans. so it's far more bipartisan than
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most of the sweeping classes that you've seen in the past. i think it gives us an opportunity to work together. >> all right. well, good luck. we'll be watching very closely to you, the president of the gop freshman class there in congress. thank you so much, representative rick messer. >> thank you, alex. today we've been asking do you think video game violence contributes to violent acts? here are some of your responses. i should tell you we got a lot of them. erik says no, video games do not contribute to violence. canadians have the same access to video games but don't have the same gun culture." barkway tweets "video game violence is a reflection of a rise in violence not a cause of that violence." final lit liberal atheist says well yes and no. i can see how a person with mental illness can get sucked into a game too much, but parents should be there. thank you also very much for sharing your thoughts today. remember you can all tweet me anytime @alexwitt.
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a cold snap in california. cold snap moving down from alaska threatening california's $2 billion citrus harvest. farmers may use wind machines to elevate temperatures before the 32 degree freezing mark which makes damage unlikely. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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in today's then and now, a piece of presidential history up for sale. here's john chancellor on nbc's nightly news on this day 32 years ago. >> the reagan home in pacific palisades, california is now for sale. a 5 bedroom contemporary ranch style house with nice views and a swimming pool in one of the better neighborhoods on the edge of los angeles. asking price, 1 million $900,000. when the ragance bought that house in 1956 they paid just a little over 26,000. >> well, that same home went up for sale again this week. and the asking price almost 5 million. again this is the same house for
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mr. reagan found out he had become the 40th president of the united states. it is 4700 square feet with a view of the santa monica bay. one of the titans of high techs tops today's list of number once. it's not apple, it's ibm. the web site 24/7 wall street calls ibm the most innovative company in the world because it has produced the most patents in the world for 20 straight years. samsung coming in second. it is cited for its variety of products from chemicals to consumer electronics. canon, sony, panasonic rounding out the top five. think of ohio you might think of the wright brothers who lived there. dayton topped career's list of the happiest u.s. cities in which to work. the rankings based on a survey that places knoxville, tennessee second, honolulu third. of course with that weather how could you be unhappy? the top three unhappiest? boulder, colorado, reno, nevada and fresno, california.
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>> now now now. >> it is confirmation of the critical acclaim steven spooeg spielberg's "lincoln" has the most oscar nominations with 1 which is a lot. the most nominations ever for one picture belong to "all about eve" back in 1950 and "titanic" more recently. bruno mars is agrammy award winner whose locked out of heaven tops billboard's top 100 for fifth straight week. that's a rap on number one's on "weekends with alex witt." vwkun hmph! [ female announcer ] charmin ultra soft is made with extra cushions that are soft and more absorbent. plus you can use four times less. charmin ultra soft.
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fiber one. uh, forgot jack's cereal. [ jack ] what's for breakfast? um... try the number one! yeah, this is pretty good. [ male announcer ] over a third of a day's fiber. fiber one. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." time for headlines at the half hour. connecticut's chief medical examiner says sandy hook shooter adam lanza's brain appeared normal. the coroner said he didn't find any tumors or in the brain
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tissue. lance armstrong reportedly plans to make a doping confession during an upcoming interview with oprah winfrey. usa today citeses an anonymous source saying armstrong is planning to admit using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career. there have been no confirmation from armstrong or his attorney. that is said to be taped on monday and broadcast thursday. in today's strategy talk, political deja vu. congressman phil gingry says today acheman was partly right on his comments on rape. joining me now is former national communications director for rick santorum's presidential campaign and retired admiral and former congressman. good to see you both. >> all right. so hogan, why are we back here again? the voters of missouri proved where legitimate rape comments get you. speaker boehner called obama care the law of the land. >> right. look. this is so confusing to me.
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i understand what he was trying to do. but he's trying to presume what these two gentlemen in aiken and murdoch are saying and he shouldn't have done it. there's a way to say look these guys made some comments. they were ludicrous. they were wrong. but they've apologized for those comments. we accept their apology and let's move on. instead we're going backwards. we're trying to hash over what they said, trying to presume something that he probably didn't even talk to these two men about. now we're back in the same fire drawing the same type of criticism for being out of touch with folks. we should just drop it and move on. as far as obama care is concerned same thing. the only way that thing was getting repealed was if republicans won the senate. and republicans didn't have to win the presidency but it sure would have helped. we lost both. this is the consequence of the election. we didn't win those two offices. we're not in power in a way we could overturn that legislation. she wants to be conservative. get rid of obama care. that's a fight that will probably happen a little bit later on in the year when some of the taxes start to kick in. by january 2014 when this thing has to be implemented in full then we'll probably revisit
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portions of it. but right now it's just symbolism that doesn't really get us anywhere and doesn't address the problems we all face as a nation right now with the debt ceiling looming over us currently. >> hogan, to take it even a step further you say it doesn't get us anywhere, doesn't face the problems we face as a nation. but doesn't it also taint all the gop? >> it doesn't help. i don't know that it taint all the gop. but look, no one's really covering the fact that she put this out. i mean i even google searched it today. and the stories were all several days old. it's not something that the press is out there chapmpioning because they know it's not going anywhere. but the proposals and bills that happen all the time and former congressman knows this, there are a lot of symbolic votes out there so they can go back to their districts and say hey we fought for this. we did. this they know it's not going anywhere. she has polling that shows it's popular at home. that's why she's doing it probably. >> with an overall approval rating of like 14% for congress
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you would think you would think twice before doing certain things. admiral, the president received a lot of criticism this week for lack of diversity in his cabinet nominees. contracting the rhetoric of the campaign, the way democrats pounced on mitt romney for his binders full of women comment, how is this not completely hypocritical? >> i think that the president's nominees so far have absolutely been spot on. particularly with senator chuck hagel taking over defense department. he did try to get susan rice before senator kerry took it. i think you raised a legitimate point as he continues his nominations. take for example the transportation. he has an ideal choice here to pick a woman, a republican. senator hutchison from texas who really understands the infrastructure challenges of our nation. and i think as a republican can help us raise money in public-private ventures. understanding government can't get the $100 billion needed for our roads that need repair and enhancement. we have to do it like the state of illinois did. city of chicago did.
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do private-public ventures. but the president did appoint two people who were women to the supreme court. but i do think this is a legitimate point as he continues on. >> hogan, i'm curious about the debt ceiling fight. we know that is looming. it is expected to get nasty. how much do you think the republicans are going to take on the president, take on the democrats? you see what senator harry reid did. he wrote a letter to the president saying listen you have our support. we think you should invoke things like the 14th amendment. do what you can to avoid as he calls it fiscal disaster. >> this is the rubber match. i think the republicans should come out guns ablazing in. this because you know we kind of won the battle in 2011. the president just won the battle here as we head into the new year. this will decide kind of the future of the country. the debt and deficit. are we going to address it. people talk about the drama in the republican party and how fractured we are. you wait until the president if he comes through with what he said on "meet the press" that he would be willing to look at some entitlement reform. you wait and see how the
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democrats react to that. you're going to see a show. i promise the republicans should come out and stand firm in. this because we can tax people into oblivion. if we're taxing and spending more money than we're bringing in it's common sense we can't continue on like that. most americans know that. so politically the argument i think tend to be on our side here. it just depends on which republicans we put forward and if we can stay on message here whether we actually turn out to be victorious. >> admiral the republicans have said they have some leverage here. do you see where that is? >> i don't think there's any leverage here for either side. because as hogan has spoken well about, this will break the back of our economy if we break that debt ceiling limit. and we're getting close to that. we need, as hogan pointed out, at least another $3 trillion of debt reduction. we need to do it in spending cuts with entitlement reform and we need to do some tax reform, tax revenues. i know this. that if we get close to that, approximately middle to the end of february debt ceiling where treasury department no longer can move moneys around not to
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break it, as that happens not just that the stock market goes down, but last time it was s & p that downgraded our rating. you will see all credit agencies doing that. then that slow but inex orable slide of america's economy begins. because it's not just that people overseas and here at home won't invest in treasury bonds. but you'll have money markets that are actually chartered not to invest in any but the highest rating securities, which means they may have to also back out of treasury bonds. fannie and freddie mai and municipal wall bonds are backed by our government. there is no leverage so to speak of one party trying to win over the other. all that matters now is get an additional $3 trillion of debt reduction and don't go past by breaking up that debt ceiling. i work with phil gingry in congress. i really liked him. he actually worked with me on helping veterans try to get more
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physical therapists and also occupational therapists. this is one where any word in front of the word "rape "except heinous or outrageous is an outrageous wrong. but i did want to say i have worked with him on a number of issues to try to further help people coming home from the wars. >> i appreciate your even-handed comments. it looks like you're agreeing with kevin madden republican strategist. good to see you both. in today's office politics, my conversation with nbc's peter alexander. peter spent last year covering mitt romney's presidential campaign. after months of almost around the clock being on the trail, peter has some great behind the scenes stories to share, including the campaign's immediate reaction to the governor's election night loss. but first, i asked peter about the challenges of reporting on the big stories and those several nuances each day wherever he found himself. >> it was an unbelievable
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experience just to travel on his plane constantly, to be on the bus chasing his motorcade. we were at the end in three or four different states a day. you'd wake up for the "today" show in one state. be in fourth state for nightly news that evening. msnbc hits all throughout the day. so that was really unique. was it tougher or easier than you imagined it would be? >> you're in the bubble. you're literally traveling with the candidate, the governor romney as it were and all of his advisers. and you're side by side with all of your competitors. you're all chasing down similar facts. in one sense it was easy because everybody needed to talk to is in the same place. all the advisers are where your. the flip to that is, a lot of times they're not going to give you a whole lot. a lot of times it's the little nuance of any language they use on any given day. to be totally sincere, the toughest part wasn't reporting, the toughest part was being awake and communicating the thoughts you were trying to do at these like 18-hour days day in and day out. >> what about the logistics? you've got to look good.
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you're on tv. >> brooks brothers noniron shirts. they worked well. you rarely have time to iron. so you turn the steam on in the shower and let the shirt just hang and hope we're going to call that a press job. it was -- that was one of the biggest challenging things. there were times when you'd spend a morning in ohio and it's 20 degrees. and the evening in south florida and it's 80. and you're not going to have access to your suitcase all day. trying to figure out how to organize your day like that. we were in a different hotel pretty much every day for weeks on end. very rarely in the same place twice, which means when you have laundry to do, that's going to be a challenge. like there were some overnights in dayton. i remember norfolk we're all fighting for two laundry machines at the marriott. worked until 3:00 in the morning to get our laundry done because that was going to be the end of the line. those things are the things that nobody sees at home that are crazy. i've never experienced anything as abrupt as the end of a political campaign in my journalistic career. remember you're with these
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people for 11 months straight. he's been campaigning for six years straight. they were certain they were going to win or at least it was going to be a late night if they didn't. and all of a sudden at 10:30 or whatever it was, we're reporting this thing's over. and you're seeing his top advisers, people that you communicate every morning and every evening with tears coming down their face. >> tears of shock or tears of sadness? were they really surprised? >> i think they were stunned, yeah. i think they -- i think as you speak to some of them now, i think the last week after hurricane sandy hit, i think there was now some real fear. but i don't think they thought it was going to be a blowout in some ways that it was. i mean it was still close in terms of tomato vote. but electorally it was not all that close. ann romney, who i really liked as a person. i thought she was terrific. it was heady stuff and intoxicating in those last weeks when she was on the road with her husband nonstop and they were showing up in cities they had never been to before and
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seeing ten, 15, 20,000 people waiting and cheering them on. >> did anyone give you a reason as to what went wrong? can they put their finger on it? >> obviously one of the most significant ones in the broadest of terms they allowed the obama campaign, re-election campaign, to define mitt romney long before they defined themselves. there were just those summer months after the primaries where they were getting pounded in the states where it mattered most. particularly ohio. as this wealthy businessman who doesn't care about you. the bain capital thing cost them. that was defined as a negative instead of a positive as a business experience element for his resume'. the 47% comment is one of the top aides to governor romney said to me at one point as we stood beneath the wing of his plane. he said peter you've been doing this journalism thing for 15 years on camera. when were you first warned that the camera is always on?
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and i think they some of the people internally were frustrated by that moment because they knew -- i think they thought that one was actually going to sting and it did. >> it sure did. >> as a person who got to know governor romney as an individual as well, there were times where you're just disappointed in the way the campaign went. you're like when you're off camera, off the record session which were limited but in the few times you get to see him off camera? you start to say, i like this guy. this guy has got a real shot. >> everybody says that about him. >> and then the camera came on. some people tell a good story about when he was at an ice creamery like a dairy queen. let's get some ice cream and yukking it up. they said this will be cool. let me shoot it on our iphone. they turn on the iphone to shoot it. at the moment he goes, hey, everybody, i'm mitt romney. let me show you around the dairy queen. everyone was like who talks like you? just be -- and i think that that ultimately cost him. >> well, tomorrow at this time peter tells me about life as a white house reporter and what
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it's like knowing the president and his west wing staff. we're keeping an eye on everything you say and might call you out on it moments later. >> i was a lot nervous. like literally to the point they was shaking a little bit, like shivering. not that it was speaking to the president but just that like this is big stuff you're dealing with here. >> it sure is. talk about pressure. now number five on our first five web stories. britney spears back on the market. the singer and her former agent jason trolleck announced friday they were breaking up. they gotten gauged about a year ago. the news came on the same day spears announced she would not be returning to "the x factor." what are you doing? nothing. are you stealing our daughter's school supplies and taking them to work? no, i was just looking for my stapler and my... this thing. i save money by using fedex ground and buy my own supplies.
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new developments in the plan to pull out american troops out of afghanistan. president obama and afghanistan president hamid karzai met
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yesterday and announced withdrawal of american forces. >> by next year 2014 the mission will be complete. afghans will have full responsibility for their security and this war will come to a responsible end. >> numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in afghanistan. it's the broader relationship that will make a difference to afghanistan and beyond in the region. >> nbc's reporter joins me now in studio. she had an exclusive interview with hamid karzai last month. with a welcome to you. the statements, what do you think it reflects? what's the temperament? is it that the u.s. wants to get out or is there a situation that's better in afghanistan allowing us to leave? >> well, from what i saw with the conversations and the press conference with both president karzai and president obama, it's that america wants to leave and the afghans really do want america to leave. they want to stand on their own two feet. but whether they're ready to
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stand on their own two feet, that's the question that remains. but that's the question that's not being answered. the afghans are saying yes, it's happened. the americans are saying yes, we believe it's happened, too. but in reality when you're tlont ground it hasn't happened. >> is that a pervasive thought? you're talking about large people higher ups saying one thing. but the reality? are people aware thought has not happened really yet? >> they know. they know what's going on. i think it's more of an i hope it has happened, i want it to have happened. it should have happened by now. although it hasn't we'll pretend it has. because although the afghan government do think that they're doing a great job and they have taken steps forward but they have a very long long way to go. the afghans themselves on the ground, they know that they can't necessarily trust their government right now. they don't necessarily trust the international community. they're basically in limbo. >> do you think by 2014 this can all be settled so they will be prepared to take care of themselves and from security-wise the afghan people? >> i take my journalistic cap
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off and give you my opinion, i don't think they'll be ready. i don't think the afghans are ready yet to be able to handle their own country right now by themselves. there's too many factors involved. it's not just the taliban. we say the taliban but there are different groups within. insurgent groups, the criminal gang element that's throughout the country. it's going to be very difficult for the afghans to be able to handle it. they'll try, but we'll see what will happen. >> we're talking a lot more about this no doubt with you. thank you so much, atia abawi. what do casey anthony and actor rob lowe have in common? a new movie. we'll hear from the actor next. n and stiffness from psoriatic arthritis hit, even the smallest things became difficult. i finally understood what serious joint pain is like. i talked to my rheumatologist and he prescribed enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, and stop joint damage. enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis,
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it was a case that gripped the country, the murder trial of casey anthony accused in the death of her 2-year-old daughter ka k /* kailee. i spoke to rob lowe this week about the trial as well as his return to politics, so to speak.
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>> let's talk about this new movie. it's premiering on lifetime next saturday in which you play the prosecutor in the casey anthony trial, jeff ashton. the jury's not guilty verdict left a lot of people, most people actually, dismayed. how did it affect ashton? was it a shocking loss? >> well, you have to understand jeff, who i play in the movie, spent 30 years searching for justice for victims like little kailee anthony. he had an almost perfect record. i think he was 12 for 12 in death penalty cases. so it seemed like the perfect guy for the perfect job in a slam-dunk case. and it was his last case before retirement. and he lost it. and really what this movie is about is this man's journey and how do you reconcile that and can you move on. and of course, how did it happen
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in the first place. >> you have another new movie out this month. it's titled "knife fight" in which you play a political operative dealing with some of the shall we say less than honorable aspects of politics. do you think this is a more pessimistic take on politics than we saw from you "the west wing"? >> it's the alternative universe version. "the west wing" was very earnest and reverential. sort of what you hoped politics would be. this is satire. it's more raucous, fun, sort of oh, i can't believe they went the there version of what goes on in politics. and it's actually written by the actual guy who is known as the master of disaster who is the big, famous democratic strategist. so it's pretty accurate. and it's pretty outrageous.
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it's really fun. i think if you like "the west wing" you'll like this movie a ton. and richard schiff's in it. you get a reunion of our two guys talking smack so that's fun. >> that's cool. what about this big role you're playing ulysses grant in "grant versus lee." what's it like playing such a history-defining man? >> we're still trying to put it together. it's a huge, epic sweeping civil war, eight-hour miniseries. but i've got my fingers crossed that we're going to be able to do it this year. it's a dream part for me. i've been obsessed with the civil war. my great great grandfather volunteered to fight for the union at 45 years old. which in those days was like an 80-year-old man going to afghanistan. so i have a deep connection to it. lee won the war. he's a very misunderstood guy. when he died he had the largest
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public funeral this country has ever seen. and those records have not been broken since. it's a dream project so i hope we get it going. i can't wait. >> and we know that rob actually meant grant won the war. anyway, an insider's view of vice president biden's white house meeting on violent video games. i will talk to a woman who was in the room. we're going to hear what questions the vice president was asking here on "weekends with alex witt." you turn for legal matters? at legalzoom, we've created a better place to handle your legal needs. maybe you have questions about incorporating a business you'd like to start. or questions about protecting your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like to find the right attorney to help guide you along, answer any questions and offer advice. with an "a" rating from the better business bureau legalzoom helps you get personalized and affordable legal protection. in most states, a legal plan attorney is available with every personalized document to answer any questions. get started at today. and now you're protected.
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good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." we're getting to what's happening right now out there. president obama sharing his plans for u.s. involvement in afghanistan during his weekly address. >> this week we agreed that this spring afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country. and our troops will shift to a support role. in the coming months, i'll announce the next phase of our draw down. and by the end of next year, america's war in afghanistan
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will be over. well, republicans are focusing on the economy in their weekly address today. freshman senator deb fisher of nebraska says congress and the president must focus on cutting government spending. >> the president will soon ask congress to raise the nation's debt limit. again. i believe we cannot agree to increase the borrowing limit without addressing our out of control spending. >> let's go right to the white house and nbc's kristen welker. so kristen, with a good saturday to you. helping reduce the debt, getting the u.s. out of afghanistan. they're not mutually exclusive, right? i mean, the president hinted so much in his weekly address this morning. >> reporter: he absolutely did. good afternoon, alex. in fact drawing down the troops in afghanistan is a part of president obama's deficit reduction plan. he referenced that today during his weekly address. talked about the fact that resources should be redirected to things like creating jobs, fixing infrastructure projects. remember the u.s. according to the latest stats has spent about
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$16 billion in aid in afghanistan, has already pledged that amount. that's in addition to the roughly $600 billion that has been spent since the september 11th attacks. to the president believes he has some political capital on this point. and remember, we just had that big knock down drag out fight over the fiscal cliff when that very issue was really at the forefront. spending on defense was a big point of debate during that big fight. so president obama trying to use some of that political capital to accelerate and build an argument for speegd up the withdrawal of troops in afghanistan. of course yesterday he along with afghan president hamid karzai announced that the transition of power from u.s. forces to afghan forces would be accelerated by a few months. it will happen this spring. the big question that remains unanswered though, alex, how many u.s. troops are going to remain in afghanistan after 2014. that's the official end of combat mission there. the white house sort of
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signalling that it is leaning toward a more scaled back presence of troops, maybe even no troops at all. the criticism of that policy, of course, is that it would leave afghanistan vulnerable, potentially could destabilize it and it could evolve into a civil war. the president will announce how many troops will be there after 2014 in the coming months. but again he believes he has political capital on the point of drawing down troops at a more accelerated pace because of course the u.s. has spent a lot of money there already, alex. >> kristen will kerr at the white house, thank you for that. joining me now political columnist for the "washington post" and political editor for the pbs news hour. hello to the both of you. we'll go ladies first. the senate democrats are telling the president go ahead and bypass the gop house entirely. how would that work? >> well, the white house is signalling that's not what it wants to do. senate democrats and some other
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democrats in the house are saying that they believe the president has the right within the 14th amendment to basically raise the debt ceiling without congress taking any action. but the president has made pretty clear he wants congress to deal with this. and he said that as they came to this conclusion over the fiscal cliff. and now you've got what could be called the february standoff as you approach this debt ceiling. and the white house is saying that they still believe that it is within congress's rights and powers to do this. and the president wants to see it done without massive spending cuts. >> okay. but dana, if the president does try to bypass the gop house, how do you think that would play out politically? >> well, i think the white house is delirious if they think that they can get away with that. whether they're bypassing congress all together or trying to get around the republicans in the house. now before there was a msnbc i watched schoolhouse rock on the weekends. you just can't get this done without the congress which has the power of the purse. they can perhaps on the
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occasional issue isolate house republicans it and sort of jam them and force certain votes. but that is not going to be a lasting strategy. and it's going to poison everything else. so if they attempt that they're going to get basically nothing done for the next couple of years. >> how tough a fight do you think the gop are going to put up on this? >> well, in the house the house republicans have virtually no interest in answering to any sort of political pressure from this president. far more than were going to be politically damaged from cooperating with this president than they are for defying this interest. it's in their interest politically to stick it to the president even if that brings about catastrophic results. >> so to you then, christina, catastrophic results like what, default? is that likely? >> that's one reason why you're hearing a lot of republicans raise the idea of a partial government shut down, saying that that's what happened in the 1990s. it forced republicans and president clinton to work together to come to a compromise. allowed fiscal conservatives to
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have their moment in the sun. you are hearing a little bit of that. what's interesting here and republicans are very aware of the public's impression of republicans in congress right now. that's that they were to blame from the fiscal cliff shenanigans. that's that if there was a government shutdown that would hurt the markets that republicans would be to blame. that's an interesting dynamic given that they only control one chamber of congress. obviously the president is a democrat. so this is a little bit of power play here. it's all about timing. we've got until february. the president has scheduled a state-of-the-union address for february 12th. that's right about when you'll be approaching that debt ceiling limit again. that's no accident. the president wants to ex ert as much pressure on congress as possible to be able to blame them if it goes wrong. >> right now looking at march 1st. the "washington post" saying it could be more like february 15th. right around the state-of-the-union. dana, i want to move onto the president's cabinet picks. we have jack lew who's been criticized for his ties to wall street. both sides have been critical of chuck hagel for various reasons.
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in your latest piece, dana, you argue the president should be able to pick whomever he likes. tell me about that. >> you hear a lot of the republicans now saying opposing nominees because he's close to the president or because he shares the president's policies. now, you can argue that maybe the president should not stack his cabinet with yes men. the president himself said he wanted a team of rivals lincoln style cabinet. he's going against that. but the truth is, the president won re-election. he's entitled to name whatever adviser he wants to his cabinet unless that adviser is completely unfit to serve. you can't say i don't like the guy's policies. well then beat the president. beat the democrats in an election and then the republicans get to pick who runs what cabinet agency. >> christina, do you have any sense the white house feels the need to defend the president's picks? >> well, by nominating chuck hagel to be secretary of defense the white house is very much signalling it's ready for a fight with all the opposition not just from republicans but some democrats opposing hagel as well. so that's definitely signalling
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yes, they're willing to step up to the plate. but dana is right in this. it actually goes back to the point about republicans just wanting to challenge the president in any way. because if they're going to get attack from the right they need to say they opposed the president in everything he proposes. so that's going to be a lot of the bluster on this. but generally nominees get approved. and we did see in the president's first term, tom daschell had to withdraw his name after some tax issues and some stories that came out object him. there could be some of that ahead. but it looks like some of the cabinet picks are sticking around. it's not going to be as big of a fight as it's sounding like. >> okay. dana millbank and christina bellantoni, thanks you guys. now to the flu virus that has this country on edge. new york governor andrew cuomo has just declared a public health agency for the flu. this now allows pharmacists to vaccinate patients between six months and 18 years old. in new york state alone, health officials say nearly 3,000 people are hospitalized for the flu. but the problem is nation-wide the cdc says flu is widespread
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in 47 states and declared it an epidemic just yesterday. people in the northern plains are waking up to brutally cold temperatures today. the winter storm is expected to produce strong winds that will create ne create near whiteout conditions. right to the ground in grand forks, north dakota where weather channel reporter is. >> reporter: if there's a city that can handle he extreme winter weather it is grand forks, north dakota. yet this has put the toughest people to the test. it's been a combination of bad weather that started yesterday with freezing rain that left a thick coating of ice on the roads and highways. it was followed by about eight inches of snow. and then came the wind. gusts of up to 30 miles per hour in some places that made for poor visibility and also really cold temperatures. temperatures as low as 30 below zero. that left a lot of people having to change their travel plans, including those who were coming here to grand forks for a big hockey series this weekend with the university of north dakota
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hockey team. they're taking on colorado college this weekend and had sold out their arena of 12,000 seats for the game last night. 3,000 of those people, though, could not make it to the game because of the travel conditions. we are seeing them get better as you can see. winds still very strong in downtown grand forks seeing that snow still blowing, still creating some visibility problems. but people do feel like it's better now. and at least good enough they'll be able to not only do their errands today but hopefully make it to that big game tonight, alex. >> thanks so much. in a moment the oval office picture that's raising questions about president obama's closest advisers. i'll speak with a powerful advocate of women's rights. congresswoman karen bass is next. also coming up an insider's account of what happened during yesterday's white house meeting with video game industry leaders. that's not exactly the picture we're looking at. but that's a mess whatever it is there. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." we'll get it right after the break.
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in washington, more than two major fights are expected as we just begin this new year. they are over the debt ceiling debate and president's cabinet choices. there were two issues that sparked criticism from both sides of the aisle this week. joining me is congresswoman karen bass, a democrat from california. welcome back to the show. it's good to see you. >> thank you. thanks for having me on. >> i know you have seen this picture which is circulating. it's of the president's current cabinet which shows all of the men there with the exception of what's reported to be valerie jarrett's leg. okay. so as someone who's been on the frontline fighting for women's rights, what did you make of all the talk about the president's lack of diversity in his cabinet choices? >> well, i certainly think that the optics are not very positive. but i really do think it's important to look at the overall picture. so if you look at gender diversity within the president's
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staff and what his cabinet has been, i think it's actually been very strong. what i'm looking forward to is that the appointments coming up will reflect women and there'll be more diversity there. >> when we look at the president's current cabinet right now out there, there's no shortage of women but many of them are leaving. so i want to play for you what your colleague, new york congressman charlie rangel said about the president's picks on msnbc earlier this week. >> it's embarrassing as hell. we've been through all this with mitt romney. and we were very hard on mitt romney with his women binder, the variety of things. >> talk to me about the president in terms of his obligation to nominate candidates from a cross-section of america. does he have an obligation to do that not only because he's the first black president but as congressman rangel said because he went after romney for his winders full of women comment? >> i frankly think that every president regardless of who they are has an obligation to have a
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cabinet and staff that reflects the population of the united states. and i don't think that you can look at the president's track record and say that there has not been the diversity there. diversity in regard to ethnicity and diversity in regard to gender. i don't think the optics were great. i think the timing of the initial picks definitely lend itself to bad optics. but i do think moving forward that the president is going to continue to be consistent and consistency is the diversity. so 50% of his staff are women. he's appointed twice as many female judges as president bush did, 47% to 22%. look at the two supreme court justices that he nominated and that sit on the court today. so i think we need to look at it in its complete context. there's many more appointments yet to come. >> okay. may i get your take on the upcoming debt ceiling fight? i mean, what kind of leverage does the president have to try to circumvent republicans? other than invoking the 14th
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amendment which he says he's not going to do? >> sure. i think the way he handled the whole fiscal cliff fight, which is going to the people, going to the public and having that really weigh on my republican colleagues. the other thing that he did in regard to the fiscal cliff negotiations was he brought in the business community. so anytime you have major ceos and now republicans say they are definitely the party of big business, we know that. and so if you have major ceos saying it is completely irresponsible to drive the u.s. economy to the brink of default, to not pay your bills. because we know the debt ceiling is about paying bills on things that were already spent. so i think public opinion is going to be a huge leverage. and i think the business community is going to add to that. >> okay. so i know you brought your crystal ball with you. >> i do. >> well, is this going to be another 11th hour or as i said earlier 11th hour 59 minute drag out fight?
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or do you think the wiser calmer saner heads are going to prevail this time around? are we going to default on our obligations around february 15th as one study in the "washington post" suggests? >> well, i don't think that we will default. but i wish i could tell you when i get back there next week we're going to raise the debt ceiling and it will all go away. i'm sure it's going to be at the 11th hour. and the reason why i say that is because look what happened when speaker boehner was trying to be re-elected for speaker again. the way his own members of his caucus defected and the turmoil that exists right now within the republican caucus. i think that that is definitely a concern that i have moving forward. now, i know they go on their retreat next week. so hopefully they won't spend the whole time fighting and they will come to grips with the fact that they should not endanger the economy, not just of our country, but we know that it impacts the economy of the entire globe. >> well said. congresswoman karen bass from california. thank you. >> thanks for having me on. next up, it's a search for
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fuel that's turned a kitchen sink into a caldron of fire. and fracking is now at the heart of a new theatrical film. how do the filmmakers deal with the controversy over the energy exploration? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." ♪ ♪ ♪ we're lucky, it's not every day you find a companion as loyal as a subaru. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. is a fantastic experience. 30 shrimp for $11.99. i can't imagine anything better. you're getting a ton of shrimp, and it tastes really good! [ male announcer ] hurry in to red lobster's 30 shrimp for just $11.99! choose any two of five savory shrimp selections,
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he also adds "the administration does not support blowing up planets." he actually had to say that. anyway let's go now to our three big money headlines. dream dashed? price of admission. and gone for good. joining me now, a retail and economy analyst. welcome back. good to see you. so the faa is responding to that series of technical setbacks to the boeing 787 dream liner. what are they looking for? >> alex, the dream liner debuted in 2011. and with it debut it was wrought with problems. right now the faa is looking at all aspects of this 787, but mostly the electronic cal component of it. now when they opened up the investigation boeing said they were happy to have them look at these flights. but this came just after this week where three different planes were grounded because of all these different problems. now, when this news broke, boeing was fine with it but the investors were really actually very jittery. the stock dropped about 5% which
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equalled about $3 billion in losses. >> that is a big loss. what about this new survey which says about a third of universities expect to either decline or grow slower than inflation when it comes to tuition. does that mean parents should start celebrating this? >> parents should start celebrating just yet. really what's going on is that the desire to go to a four-year college is starting to drop. and rightly so. the economic uncertainty has been going on for the last couple of years, especially job growth. people don't think they're going to be able to have a job after they go to college. so that is going to drop the revenues for colleges and universities. so what they're doing is just increasing tuition only 2.6 to 2.7% versus the 6.7% they usually increase it per year. now analysts are saying that that might not be a good solution, either. because with the drop in revenue also comes the compromising of the education. and especially with the state universities that take that, take the funding from state schools they're worried that
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might kind of have something to do with the professors and the quality of education. >> well something to be concerned about certainly from both perspectives. what about the big change to the classic board game monopoly? they're retiring one of the existing toe ken and replacing it with a brand-new one. who are the options out there and who gets to decide all this? >> alex, it's you and me and the rest of the world. we can actually go on facebook and vote to see which tokens we want to be off that board game. now, as you know monopoly's had different toe ken. they've had the scotty dog, hats, all these different type of tokens. if you go on facebook and vote you can vote for the new one. they're going to debut the winner on "today" show on february 6. i think right now the robot is in the top running for that new token. >> might be replacing the wheel barrow based on the graphic we just saw. thanks. straight ahead an inside look at the president's meeting with video game industry.
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will the industry reduce the level of vile intelligence someone who was in that room joins us next on "weekends with alex witt." girls don't talk about pads... but they do talk about always infinity. [ marcy ] it's like memory foam. [ female announcer ] the only pad made from a revolutionary material. [ erina ] it totally fits to your body. [ female announcer ] it's incredible protection, you'll barely feel it. always infinity. tell us what you think. but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth!
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." 31 past the hour, everyone. vice president biden on tuesday is expected to deliver his recommendations to the president on how to reduce gun violence in the u.s. during his meeting yesterday with gaming industry reps, the vice president seemed to hedge on the relationship between violent video games and gun violence. >> we don't even know whether some of the things people think impact on this actually impact. i come to this meeting with no judgment. you all know the judgements other people have made. >> with me now is cheryl olsen who was in that meeting yesterday. cheryl is also the co-author of "grand theft childhood" the surprising truth about violent video games and what parents can do. a very timely book there, cheryl. i know you were in that room when the vice president made those remarks. so take us into that meeting in terms of what you were hearing
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from both sides. >> sure. just to paint the picture, there were about 18 of us. five of us are researchers, about ten from industry. also kathleen sibelius and eric holder were there. and the vice president made clear up front that he felt that for the evidence he'd seen there wasn't a link between violent video games and real life violence. but he did also make clear that the public is very concerned, and for that reason there needs to be something done to address this. >> so we have a headline in the "new york times" i want to show you here. it's about the gaming industry, particularly the makers of the violent games, lobbying congress for support against any sort of regulations. did you get a sense, cheryl, from yesterday's meeting that we're heading toward some sort of a battle between the gaming industry and the white house? or that's not going to happen? >> i think that might only happen if the gaming industry were to just stone wall and push back and say no we won't do anything. there was some talk about having some industry involvement or collaboration with the government perhaps of sponsoring
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additional research. i was at the meeting in part because i did $1.5 million government-funded study while i was at harvard on video games and violence looking at middle school kids. and i know from my work and the work i've seen, there's so much we don't know. for example, we don't know about the video game use of kids with mental health issues, kids who are juvenile offenders. a lot of higher risk groups who are at risk of being harmed themselves by it and possibly high risk of harming others. >> so then with the vice president saying -- you're saying you did this $1.5 million plus research at harvard. you have basically inconclusive evidence as to the exact relationship between violence and video games. so where did the vice president get his information from to say that you can't necessarily put point a leads to point b? >> it's basically there's no proven. like for example my study found that when you look at kids playing m rated games, the more m rated games they play the more
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likely they were to say that they bull liddied children or g into fights. but when we look at other factors, that relationship kind of went away. and other research has also been equivocal. the stuff tended to support a link in past cases including california's law struck down by the supreme court looked at mostly college students taking psych 101 doing little lab experiment that is measured pretty much competitiveness. and then some people would make a leap between that and real world violence. i personally don't agree with that. >> so then i want to pick up on that. let's use a common sense approach here. do you believe that if we didn't have as many violent video games there might not be as many of these violent acts in the public domain? >> well, that's a tough question. because from what i understand, across the years school shootings have not gone up.
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they have been bigger. but it's stayed pretty consistent. and we know that since the mid 1990s as access to violent games has gone way up if you have a kid you know that. youth violence has gone down. so it means they are such rare events. what's really gone up is the coverage of the events. one of the things that i talked about is the need to give parents more control over what's going on. sorry what were you going to ask me? >> i was going to say, how does one regulate a feeling or level of desensitizing towards what's happened? you watch video games. we were talking about this my group our producer and the rest of us. we thought how many of us have gone to a movie. you see people get blown to bits or play a video game or something. then you come out into the real world and you don't even really feel anything because of that. you know what i'm trying to say? this lack of sensitivity to it. how do you regular that? how do you measure that? >> what's interesting is some of
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the kids i worked with, i had focus groups as part of my work with 13-year-olds who play violent games. one was saying i worry about being desensitized because if you go to a movie and see someone's arm cut off you might be very upset. but if you see that ten times. but then i talked to some of the child psychiatrists i worked with. they were saying here's what we see. kids get desensitized to violence in the media. a child who plays violent video games will be very upset if his friend gets hit by a car or hurt playing sports. the kids they see who get desensitized to real life violence are the ones that see real life violence. their dad beats up their mom. they're in violent neighborhoods. >> interesting. so give me a take away if you have one of what you'd like to see people know that came out of that meeting. what's something that you saw that you feel people should know? >> i think that there was a real concern on the part of the vice president, awareness that parents worry and need more resources, more education. and i think for the most part people in the industry, especially the people who make
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games who were there, they said we want to know more, too. we think our products are entertainment. we think they are okay especially if they're used according to the age-based ratings. if they're not okay we want to know so we can change. >> okay. cheryl olsen, thank you very much for the discussion. i appreciate it. >> my pleasure. in the wake of the sandy hook elementary school shootings, massachusetts has removed violent arcade games from its highway service plazas. it has taken the action over concern that residents from make connecticut may be offended by those games. there's a new report out today which says disgraced cyclist lance armstrong plans to make a doping confession in an upcoming interview. an anonymous source tells usa today that armstrong plans to admit having used performance enhancing drugs during an interview with oprah winfrey. that sit down is scheduled to be taped monday in armstrong's home in austin, texas. the interview will air thursday on the oprah winfrey network. the u.s. anti-doping agency stripped armstrong of seven tour de france titles. he is currently banned from the sport for life.
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let's turn now to my friend thomas roberts who's going to fill in for craig melvin coming up. doing extra duty today. >> we are going to be on live three hours with all of you. the very latest on the brinksmanship taking place in washington over gun control. we're going to hear from the organizer of gun appreciation day. that's coming up next weekend which false just ahead of the president's inauguration. and from the former chief of security for new york city schools, are armed guards the real answer for all of this? all that. then the latest about the budget battle that's coming up over the next three hours. three hours, alex! >> yeah. >> you're stuck with me for three hours. >> get your coffee. are you kidding? such a pleasure. thomas roberts. the new movie "promised land" takes on the controversial topic of natural gas frack and its environmental impact. in it matt damon stars as an energy company representative trying to sell a small town on some big money. >> i am happy to announce we will be bringing natural gas to mckinley. >> what kind of money are you
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talking about? >> you could be a millionaire. >> hi, everybody. i'm here because my farm is gone. the land just turned brown and it died. >> it's happened to one of us. it can happen to all of us. >> my $9 billion company. you know what we're capable of. >> do you? >> joining me now is josh fox, director and producer of the anti--fracking documentary "gas land." before we get started officially i want all of you know "promised land" was produced by focus features a subsidiary of msnbc parenting company msn universal. what did you think of the movie? >> i think it's a very important film. this film zeros in on what's happening all across america, which is that there is a choice being put in front of people to accept the natural gas industry in their towns, to basically come in and drill hundreds if not thousands of wells, or to try to take action and oppose them and how difficult it is to oppose them. >> the reason, though, for allowing in these small towns to
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come in and drill down and get the shale and do this fracking is for economic reasons, right? i mean, they can be possibly very lucrative for these towns. >> well the gas industry has one thing going for them, they wave a lot of money in front of people. essentially it is a fire sale. when what you're doing is destroying the landscape and destroying any other possible economic value to that place you're reducing those towns to the value of the gas. and once the gas is gone then there's not much worth there. what's interesting about the film is that the people in the town are way ahead of the gas industry by the time they get there. they know that hydraulic fracturing con tap mates water. they know it's a massive industrialization process. they know they won't be able to continue their way of life. so what the movie is really terrific at doing is describing these absolutely diabolical manipulation techniques of the natural gas industry on the ground. and it's at the moment when the movie sort of stretches its credibility the most when it's actually most on target. we know that the natural gas
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industry actually employed former ops officers from the gulf war and put them in western pennsylvania to manipulate and divide those towns. >> do we note results of that? >> what we're seeing here across the state of pa at least is fighting going on like crazy. and the town is sort of an allegory. people in america are taking this issue and looking at it as if what they could do is participate democratically. all across pennsylvania there were bans at the municipal level, at the local level. those bans, and this time movie doesn't go into probably because it happened after it was written, were all overturned by pennsylvania governor tom corbett. so local control over how your town is going -- whether your town is going to become the industrial gas field is actually not in the hands of the people. but if you look at the film as an allegory, america looking at this and saying do we trust
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these people who we know are lying to us, who say there's no such thing as water con tame nation where everybody knows there is or do we actually try to assert local control and do this in another way? that's very interesting. >> i want to read a response to this movie from the marcellus shale corporation. steve forde "it's a complete work of fiction. this movie may run in theaters for several weeks, maybe a couple of months but the work of our industry is going to continue for generations to come." look obviously is the movie is a work of of fiction. but the science in the movie? is that fiction? >> well, the science of contamination from natural gas drilling and oil drilling and fracking is very, very clear. the industry has been studying how their wells leak and fail for decades. and they know that they leak and fail. and we've discovered those documents. and they're right there for the public to see. we know that 5% of their well casings fail within immediately upon drilling. and that 50% of them fail over
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30-year period. >> okay. >> so this type of thing from the marcellus shale coalition is exactly what the movie is describing. that they'll come out and tell you black is white. >> i'm going to tell you, though. it's interesting. if you go into the state of pennsylvania to see this movie, that same group we were just talking about, the marcellus shale organization, it's running a 16-second ad before the movie. the it will pro moist frack. but lobbyists have said they're not going after this movie as hard as they went after your documentary, in part because matt damon does a really good job as an actor of selling fracking. >> well, what matt damon does in the film he comes out with a lot of natural gas industry talking points. he's very good at that. he says if you're not for gas you're for coal and oil. which is a misconception. basically the natural gas industry would like you to believe gas is the only option we have for energy or developing rural communities or urban communities. we know that renewable energy technology right now, the wind and the sun, can power everything that we have on the planet earth. everything that we have on the
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planet earth. it is completely a false statement for the gas industry to say oh, well either you destroy your community and destroy your environment or you have no energy. that's absolutely not true. and i mean can you imagine sitting in a movie theater and then watching an orwellian advertisement from an industry saying everything about this my movie you're about to watch is untrue. this is how lead-footed they've been in actually attacking this. the truth is they know they're contaminating people. i don't think there is any way to make this drilling safe. there is certainly no historical or scientific context for making this type of drilling safe. >> it is something that you address in "gas land" no doubt. but josh fox, thanks for coming in and weighing on your documentary and the new movie. next up with the big three, america's longest wars. how will history judge president obama's handling of iraq and afghanistan? you are watching "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] house rule number 14.
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it's time for the big three in today's topics. peace legacy. all the president's men and best week worst week. we're bringing in republican strategist and nbc contributor and editor in chief of national journalist hotline. good to see you all. >> good afternoon. >> susan i begin with you, as the president is on the verge of getting up out of a second war started by a republican president, how much credit does he deserve for that from a historical perspective? >> it will be interesting. he started off as an anti-war candidate when he was running for president. then he increased troops as president and took a lot of heat from the left. and he will be credited for taking them out. as far as the historic perspective goes, i think right now the country wants the troops out. and it's the right thing to do. but we don't know what that part of the world is going to look like in ten or 20 years. >> so you're giving him credit? >> yes. when you're the president you take credit for what happens when you're in office. you can't always blame your predecessor. so he's in office and he gets
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credit. >> okay. morris since we're talking legacy and history here, how much will the fact the president gives the green light to these ongoing drone attacks in pakistan taint that legacy? >> this is quite a controversial thing. i plan to talk about this in my worst week best week situation. this is something that america is going to either be judged very well in the future or very painfully, maybe like the atomic bomb or nuclear weapons where we have them and we don't want other people to use them. which is quite controversial. it's dividing and screwing up our relationship with pakistan. i know that americans feel good that we can wage war without body bags coming home. but just think if a drone flies over america and starts shooting into our cities. so this is quite controversial and only time will tell where this goes. >> okay. hey reid let's get a reality check from you here. how might the president's handling of these two wars ultimately be viewed? that's a tough question to answer but just give us some perspective. >> i think what we've got frn susan and morris so far is a pretty good sort of summary
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here. this is not a black and white picture. you've got some folks who are very happy that we're getting out of iraq and afghanistan. but we and afghanistan, but we didn't do it as fast as we promised originally. you have people on the left who wanted a lot out of this president and they're not getting it with the drone strikes and the wiretapping and everything that the cia and the fbi has been doing. so the legacy that president obama is leaving is very complex and no conservative will be happy with it and a lot of liberals aren't going to be happy with it either. the obama doctrine is apparently don't make anybody happy. >> morris, let's move on to the next top wick all of the president's men, appointing a lot of white men to fill cabinet positions? >> i think the majority is still out on this. he's only announced a few. kerry, so i don't think there's a lot of people and a lot of spots to fill. we've still got to sort of shake things out. i think he's trying to appoint people that are number one, close to him and understand what he wants to get done in the next
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four years and he needs to bring diversity and we'd hoped to get that from susan rice and i think the jury is still out and we'll see ultimately what happens. >> anything hypocritical here, to defend the president. they went after mitt romney, for, you know. >> they would have gone after any president and any republican president with this record. i mean, but let's face it, the optics looked really bad and it is, in fact, hard to say to the first african-american that, and i don't think they'll judge him harshly with that. however, he is lacking diversity from outside opinions. for example, hillary clinton when she was appointed or keeping robert gates on. these are outside points of view and now he's limiting himself to yes people. >> i don't think chuck hague cell a yes man. that's an outside opinion that republicans aren't happy with and democrats aren't happy. >> he's been an obama guy.
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he endorsed him. >> the first cabinet was all about continuity and steadiness in washington, d.c. this cabinet is the obama cabinet. these are the guys that he wants to carry out his agenda and to further -- this is the time when we get to see what president obama's agenda is at the state department and the pentagon. i think these choices are perfect. >> and the republicans went after. and they're now saying she was never up to the position anyway. >> reid, what you were saying, the white house response to all of this, do they really care or are they going with the people the president wants to work with? >> i think they do care certainly about projecting diversity and and sort of an alternate inclusion in the cabinet and the white house, and i think the record is pretty clear. i mean, look, this president's legacy will be defined by people like hillary clinton and sonia
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sotomayor and elena kagan and whoever else he appoints. >> this is really about obama.2 where he will do his best. >> you guys, here's the deal. we have to go. we'll hear the rest on the other side of the break. what are you doing? nothing. are you stealing our daughter's school supplies and taking them to work? no, i was just looking for my stapler and my... this thing. i save money by using fedex ground and buy my own supplies. that's a great idea. i'm going to go... we got clients in today. [ male announcer ] save on ground shipping at fedex office.
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we are going to go through the best week, worst week. morris, you're first. >> my first, my loser of the week is democracy in africa. a lot of crazy things with things of that nature. taking a lead and ask americans and we decided to add value on the fight for democracy. the winner of the week is the flu. the flu has had a great week. it's wiped out all of the stuff in different places and emergencies and different state, but there's a reason behind this. the cdc says it costs $1 billion to create a vaccine to fight the flu, with the cuts, if we have
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another anthrax scare and can't fight the flu how do we prevent the anthrax scare. this is a real issue in what's going on with the disease and immune situations. >> i like the perspective. we're out of time, but that's okay. susan, your picks. >> best week, andrew cuomo. looks like he'll get a gun deal on assault weapons with democrats and republicans. worst weeks, congressman phil gingrey. horrible comments and he needs to keep his mouth shut. >> senator jay rockefeller who said he'll refire next year. worst week, this week. frank lautenberg, a new poll out of new jersey says twice as many democrats want cory booker than lautenberg next year. >> thank you so much. morris, susan, reid, good to see you all. up next is thomas roberts. i don't want to take any time from thomas over there. i'm alex witt. i'm not going to stay. thomas is up next. i'll see you at noon tomorrow. bye.
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Weekends With Alex Witt
MSNBC January 12, 2013 9:00am-11:00am PST

News News/Business. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Afghanistan 26, Us 15, U.s. 12, Alex Witt 10, America 9, California 9, Washington 9, New York 8, Pennsylvania 5, Romney 5, Corey Booker 4, Hamid Karzai 4, Susan Rice 4, Obama 4, Dana 4, Msnbc 4, Nissan Sentra 4, Cdc 4, Alex 4, Cheryl 3
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